Today is All Hallows Eve.
As past posts have proved for those of you who weren’t here, I LOVE Halloween. The decorations. Silly theme music. Adorable food you can turn into mummies or trees or ghosts or whatever. Dressing up in multiple costumes for different events. I even occasionally subject myself to scary movies. Shaun of the Dead has to be watched each time the season is upon us (obviously not that scary, let’s continue).
My holiday spirit tops that of most of my friends. It boggles my husband’s mind. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated with the casual way people either shirk wearing a costume or half-ass it or general apathy for this day.
I get it. Not everyone is into this holiday. Some people have legit reasons, some people just historically have never been into it. That’s fine. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion–wrong or otherwise.
Since I do love Halloween, and much of the world doesn’t understand, allow me to explain.
When I was little, we didn’t have a ton of cash lying around. Every year, my mom and I would go to the fabric store and the thrift store down the street from our house. I always asked for a plastic wrapped, brand new costume, and my mom always said no. And I get it now…they’re expensive and not much thought goes into them.
She did pull out all the stops to make this day as great as possible for me. I remember her cutting out pieces of felt and making me try on my witch costume that including tiny felt monsters on the dress. I also recall her applying glitter glue to a costume that would transform her into a wizard and her excitement at finding the perfect hat.
One year, I was obsessed with 101 Dalmations, and she bought me a white sweatsuit and attached dots to it to turn me into one of them with a headband with attached ears. My best friend went as a cat, we got hyped up on sugar, and to the exasperation of our teacher, I chased her around the classroom.
When I was in 6th grade, I slipped on my stockings, and without my broomstick, went plummeting onto the gym floor. I received 5 stitches and got the afternoon off from school. My mom said I could go as a mummy which was shot down with a simple look. My friends still picked me up for trick or treating.
My friends also had memorable costumes that I still think about today, years after the fact. This year, I had the pleasure of working at a place where creativity overflows. I have never seen so many co-workers dress up and have had as much fun as I did at work. Watching people explore their creativity and see the fruit of their pursuits is one of the amazing and beautiful reasons I love today.
I picked out what costume I was going to have about 5 months ago. I have an ongoing list of costumes, and ideas literally falling out all the time. It reminds me of theatre, when we’d rehearse, or the times we would practice improv and have to be someone else on the fly. It’s exhilarating to be someone who isn’t you, even if it’s just for an hour or two.
Halloween is a parade or a collage of all the things that make us unique. It’s an attempt by “ordinary” people to show you a side of them they may not normally produce. This might seem overwhelming to people out there, but it doesn’t have to be. Halloween spirit means that you have the courage to be vulnerable, to dress up, look silly, and feel confident in that.
Freaks & Geeks is not one of my favorite shows, but I really enjoy their Halloween episode. To ruin it for you, Sam decides that he and his friends need to be young and go out trick or treating one more year. He is mocked and laughed at for this, by the bullies at their school, by his own father, and lastly ridiculed and egged by his sister accidentally. His friends abandon him, and he walks home alone, feeling dejected. Meanwhile, his mother who has been overjoyed at the holiday finds herself older in a changing world that she doesn’t understand and her babies all grown up. But by the end of the episode, Sam reminds Lindsay that she is “not cool,” which prompts her to make amends with her mother and pass out candy to children.
Community has a similar message in their 2nd season Halloween episode, called Epidemiology. That I won’t ruin for you, but you should totally watch it. It’s kind of a stand-alone episode.
The takeaway from this is that throughout life, people are going to step on your dreams. People are going to misunderstand and dislike who you are. It’s just how things go. But the good news, is that ultimately, the people who matter most will love and accept you for who you are. And also, Halloween is a chance to not care about what all the haters think (unless you pick an unwise costume that mocks or ridicules someone, in which case I would beg you to reconsider since there are so many incredible opportunities for costumes).
I hope you have the determination, will, and courage to dress up this Halloween. If it really isn’t your thing, I hope you’ll support those of us who live for this day, and that every now and then you have a chance to show the world how awesome you are.
Happy Halloween, everybody!!